Jones, Meads thankful for clean race; Meads weighs recount request

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Camden Clerk of Superior Court Paula Harris tries to stay warm on a windy Tuesday morning outside the Shiloh precinct polling place. Harrison won re-election Tuesday to a third term as clerk of court.

Kevin Jones.jpg

By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Thursday, May 10, 2018

CAMDEN — Apparent Republican primary winner Kevin Jones and Camden Sheriff Rodney Meads both said Tuesday they were glad their sheriff’s race — decided by half-a-dozen votes — was as clean as it was close.

Jones, who won the Republican primary by six votes according to unofficial results from Tuesday, said he was pleased with his apparent victory in the race.

“I am very pleased, very humbled,” Jones said Tuesday night.

But Jones, a trooper with the N.C. Highway Patrol, said he was reluctant to declare himself the winner just yet because the margin was so narrow.

“To be 100 sure it’s too close to say one way or the other,” Jones said.

Meads in fact said Tuesday night he has not ruled out calling for a recount given Jones’ narrow margin of victory.

“I may consider that because it is so close,” Meads said.

In order for Meads to request a recount the difference between his and Jones’ vote totals must be less than 1 percent of the total votes cast in the Camden GOP primary for sheriff. The 1 percent figure will be determined after the Camden Board of Elections’ canvass of the primary election, which is slated for Friday, May 18.

There are nine provisional ballot envelopes from Tuesday's primary in Camden, some of which could be valid Republican ballots in which a vote was cast for sheriff. In those cases, they would affect the total vote. In addition, there are three Republican absentee ballots that could affect the tally if they were postmarked in time and are received in time.

Elaine Best, director of elections in Camden, said if the vote margin is less than 1 percent of votes cast in the Meads-Jones race after the vote canvass, Meads would have until 5 p.m. on May 21 to submit a request for a recount.

Jones said he appreciated that Meads had run a clean campaign.

“We ran a civil race against one another,” Jones said. “That’s due to the respect we have for one another.”

Jones also thanked voters who supported him.

Meads, who was appointed sheriff by the Camden Board of Commissioners when Sheriff Tony Perry retired earlier this year, agreed with Jones that the campaign was hard-fought but also clean.

“It was good and it was clean,” Meads said. “There were a lot of people who were torn because they liked us both.”

If Jones’ six-vote margin holds up in the county Board of Election canvass, his opponent in November will be Democrat Rick Trevena.

In the only other local contest in Camden on Tuesday, incumbent Clerk of Superior Court Paula Harrison held off a challenge by Y. Monique Chamblee by a decisive margin.

Harrison, who won a third term as clerk of court, said she believes voters chose her because of her extensive experience in the office.

“I would hope it was because of my 33 years of experience in the office and my immeasurable knowledge from working my way from the bottom of the ranks up to where I am now,” Harrison said.

Harrison will now face Republican Rhiana Srebro in the fall. Harrison said she plans to campaign on that same platform that emphasizes her experience as the general election approaches.

Chamblee, who works for Elizabeth City’s Community Development Office and is a former employee of the clerk’s office, said she appreciated the opportunity to get out and talk to people in the community during her campaign.

“It’s not disappointing,” Chamblee said. “I am still a victorious person.”

Chamblee also assured her supporters she was not done.

“I plan to run every four years until I am elected,” Chamblee said.